Renzo Piano is not an architect

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Well, according to the UK’s Architects Registration Board (ARB) he isn’t.

Last week, BDOnline received an email from the ARB asking them to refrain from calling Renzo Piano and Daniel Libeskind an architect, since “they are not registered with the ARB they are not entitled to be described as such”.

The statement said: “BD referred to two eminent individuals as architects – neither of whom are on the UK register. This is one of a number of peripheral areas, and architects often contact us when they are concerned about the use of the title ‘architect’ in the press although no breach of the legislation in fact occurs.”

AD Interviews: Renzo Piano – Part II

Part I – Part II – Part III

We continue with the second part of our exclusive interview with .

Since first achieving international fame in 1978 with the Centre George Pompidou in Paris, Renzo Piano has become known as a prolific, Italian architect capable of achieving a masterful balance between art, architecture and engineering. His intellectual curiosity and problem-solving techniques have led him to develop a wide-ranging portfolio that successfully merges high technology with humane and comfortable environments.

Sophisticated, refined and elegant, the presence of Renzo Piano’s work is internationally celebrated. Originally born into a family of Italian builders, the Pritzker Prize-winning architect now leads a staff of 150 at his practice, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, from three locations – Genoa, Paris and New York.

Watch Part III.

AD Interviews: Renzo Piano – Part I

Part I – Part IIPart III

Since first achieving international fame in 1978 with the Centre George Pompidou in Paris, Renzo Piano has become known as a prolific, Italian architect capable of achieving a masterful balance between art, architecture and engineering. His intellectual curiosity and problem-solving techniques have led him to develop a wide-ranging portfolio that successfully merges high technology with humane and comfortable environments. Sophisticated, refined and elegant, the presence of Renzo Piano’s work is internationally celebrated. Originally born into a family of Italian builders, the Pritzker Prize-winning architect now leads a staff of 150 at his practice, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, from three locations – Genoa, Paris and New York. Architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff of The New York Times described Piano’s work the best when he stated: “The serenity of his best buildings can almost make you believe that we live in a civilized world.” The next part of the interview will air on Monday Sept, 17th. Renzo Piano completed works featured on ArchDaily:

In Progress:

You can also read our editorials Piano’s Progress and The Shard: A Skyscraper for our Post 9/11 World?.

The Shard: A Skyscraper For Our Post-9/11 World?

The Shard, by Renzo Piano, towers over the London skyline.

When the Twin Towers came down 11 years ago (almost to the day), the world was struck numb. Even New Yorkers, who felt the trauma rumble through their veins, couldn’t get past the initial disbelief: how can this be happening? How can something so big, so invincible, actually be so vulnerable?

Hundreds of comments have been hurled at Renzo Piano’s “Shard,” the massive, reflective skyscraper that hulks over the London skyline – it’s big, no, huge; it’s out of the context of its Victorian neighborhood; its exclusive price tag could only be footed by Qatar royalty (as it is) – but few, beyond writing off the tower as a symbol of arrogance or hubris, have stopped to consider its impetus.

For that, we must look at the Shard in the context of . Only then can the Shard be understood for what it is: the amplification and perfection of the glass tower Piano began in post-9/11 , a utopian vision that stands defiantly in defense of the city itself.

Piano’s Progress

© Renzo Piano Building Workshop

In honor of Renzo Piano’s 75th (gasp!) birthday, we offer an update on his latest projects.  The septuagenarian has several large-scale works in various stages of construction scattered across the world, and has celebrated the opening of others within this past year.  While we have been continuously following the conceptualization, construction and completion of the Shard, Renzo’s talent is sweeping across major cities both in the States and Europe, including: a satellite museum in New York; a cultural hub for Athens; an urban cultural catalyst for Santander, Spain; an interior renovation for ; a recently completed museum wing for ; plus, a redeveloped brownfield site turned science center for Trento, Italy.  No matter the project location, scale, or program, Piano’s  ability to craft an architecture with a sense of lightness, strong attention to detail and overall aesthetic elegance sets him in a very particular category of the profession.

So, here’s to a happy 75th and 75 more years of great architecture, Renzo!

More after the break.

In Progress: MUSE Museum of Science / Renzo Piano

© RPBW – Stefano Goldberg

Architects: Renzo Piano Building Workshop
Location: , Italy
Architect: Renzo Piano
Project Year: 2012
Photographs: Courtesy of RPBW, RPBW – Stefano Goldberg, RPBW – Paolo Pelanda, Colombo Costruzioni – Alessandro Gadutti, RPBW – Cristiano Zaccaria

Does the Shard Need Time?

Getty Images

The disappointment generated by the Shard’s opening laser light show is not so surprising for a project that has been grounded in controversy for over a decade.  Since 2000, when Piano sketched his initial vision upon meeting developer Irvine Sellar, the project has consistently met obstacles such as English Heritage and the financial crash of 2007.   But, the biggest opposition of the tower has been its height.  English Heritage claimed that the tower, formerly known as Bridge Tower, would “tear through historic like a shard of glass” (ironically, coining the new name of the tower), and Piano counters that, “The best architecture takes time to be understood…I would prefer people to judge it not now. Judge it in 10 years’ time.”

Leading us to wonder…does simply need time to be fully appreciated?

The Shard’s Opening Celebration

Opening Celebration / Tonight at 10.15

Tonight, Renzo Piano’s Shard will officially celebrate its opening complete with an amazing light show.  A dozen lasers and thirty searchlights will beam streams of light across the city, creating a network between 15 other significant landmarks in , such as the Gherkin, Eye, Tate Modern, and Tower Bridge.  (So, if you are in , don’t miss the event at 10.15 this evening, and be sure to share some photos with us!)

Capping out at 310 meters, has become the tallest building in London, as well as the entire European Union.  We have been following the history of Renzo Piano’s creation, and although laden with financial troubles, a change in developers,  and criticism from Londoners, the project has finally reached completion.

More about the history of the tower after the break.

Update: Botín Center / Renzo Piano

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A week ago we told you about the Botín Center, Renzo Piano’s first major project in . We also featured some preliminar models of the project and more information on this building, which will have the largest private foundation in invest over 150 million USD. We now have more official images, including some drawings and sketches. Check them out after the break.

Dallas’s Disputed “Hot Spot”


The in Dallas designed by Renzo Piano and the neighboring 42-story Museum Tower are embroiled in a dispute revolving around the adverse effects of glare reflecting into the Nasher’s interior gallery and garden. Currently in mediation over possible solutions, the topic certainly brings to light the implications involved in highly glazed high-rise construction and the surrounding buildings. More details after the break.

Botín Center / Renzo Piano

Botín Center. ©

While all eyes may be locked on the Shard’s latest push toward the sky, Renzo Piano is preparing for his first major Spanish project to officially break ground in about one week in . The Botín Foundation, the largest private foundation in Spain, will invest over 150 million USD for the construction and programming of a new Botín Center that will become an international reference in culture and education for the development of creativity through art. The building will inform a new cultural axis to connect the best art circuits in Europe and will serve as a cultural catalyst to bridge the community with art.  Emilio Botín, President of the Botín Foundation, is confident the Center will establish a new community space and link the city with the bay.  ”To accomplish it, we have called on the best architect in the world. The architect, who best knows how to link cities to the sea, to build urban spaces, and to generate magical places where art may be enjoyed,” explained Botín.

More about the project after the break. 

Renzo Piano and Zoltan Pali to design the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

© Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Award-winning architects Renzo Piano and Zoltan Pali will design the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science announced today. “Renzo’s track record of creating iconic cultural landmarks combined with Zoltan’s success in transforming historically-significant buildings is a perfect marriage for a museum that celebrates the history and the future of the movies,” said Dawn Hudson, Academy CEO.

Piano designed the expansion of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), whose campus will include the upcoming Academy museum.

Pali, a Los Angeles native, is renowned for his Los Angeles-area restorations of the Greek Theatre, the Gibson Amphitheatre, and the Pantages Theatre, the latter earning SPF:a an LABC Award for Historic Preservation. For the firm’s work as the executive architects on the renovation and expansion of the Getty Villa museum, SPF:a received the AIA Los Angeles Presidential Award.

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will be established in the historic May Company building, now known as LACMA West. Opened in 1939, the building is a 325,000-square foot art moderne landmark located at the corner of Fairfax Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard.

Interview: Renzo Piano on Innovation / AR Innovators

In his interview with Renzo PianoRob Gregory of Architectural Review discusses architecture, responsibility and innovation within the field.  Piano talks about architecture is being a highly considered inquiry into the process of making because “architecture is more lasting and profound” and if it is done wrong, with the wrong intentions and assumptions, then “it is wrong for a long time”.  In regards to his work, speaks about the “good and bad stories” that surround buildings.  Mentioning The Shard in , designed in partnership with Hunter Douglas and Pompidou Centre, designed in collaboration with Richard Rogers, Piano reflects on the role of architecture in a city as a public building and cultural magnet.

More after the break.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Opens New Wing Today / Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Evening exterior view - Outdoor art installation “Ailanthus” by Stefano Arienti (right) © Nic Lehoux / Renzo Piano Building Workshop

The newly constructed wing for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, opens to the public today with a celebratory ribbon-cutting ceremony accompanied by the City of ’s Mayor Thomas M. Menino. Designed to preserve the 1902 historic building, the 70,000 square-foot addition will offer purpose-built spaces for concerts, exhibitions and classes, along with enhanced visitor amenities. The museum will also be kicking off an inaugural season of exhibitions, performances and events that will highlight the buildings wide range of programming.

“This new wing is an extraordinarily elegant workshop, a bustling counterpoint to the historic building’s serenity. Here, the thinking and the work of the Museum is performed, so that the Palace, which had been put to uses for which it was not equipped, can once again give visitors the experience Isabella Stewart Gardner intended: a personal confrontation with art,” said Anne Hawley, Norma Jean Calderwood Director of the Museum.

Continue reading for more images and information.

Update: The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center / Renzo Piano

ArchDaily is once again updating you on the progress of  The Cultural Center designed by Renzo Piano.  We showed you initial plans for the building back in 2009.  Since then, we have been provided with more detail on the development of the project, which we continue to share with you.  As previously mentioned, the center will be a sustainable arts, education, and recreation complex that will contribute to the community of Athens, financed by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. Plans for this building began five years ago but it was not until December 2011 that preparatory excavation work finally began.  Construction is scheduled for Spring 2012 and according to the foundation website:

The beginning of the construction phase comes at a very critical juncture in modern Greek history and brings a much-needed sense of optimism and hope, as well as a whole range of significant economic benefits to the country. Approximately €1 billion of total economic stimulus will be derived from the upfront commitment in the construction of the SNFCC, while 1,500 to 2,400 people will be employed each year to support SNFCC construction and all related industries.

More after the break.

Update: The Shard / Renzo Piano


© Renzo Piano. .

We have been covering Renzo Piano’s Shard for throughout its design and construction process.  Slated to become the tallest building in Europe, the Shard will make a remarkable impression of the skyline, dwarfing most of the metropolis as the 1000ft+ tower streamlines toward the sky.   The tower has been constructed in an era of economic uncertainty, and although its height alludes confidence and a feeling of power, as it takes shape, many question the motives behind the project and its future implications on the city.

More about the Shard after the break.

AD Classics: Menil Collection / Renzo Piano

© D Jules Gianakos

Most important Architectural additions to a city are those of spectacle, meant to stand out and grab attention, such as Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, , or Daniel Libeskind’s extension to the Denver Art Museum. But when Renzo Piano made his American debut with the Menil Collection 25 years ago, the result was far from spectacle, but rather more supplementary to an already established neighborhood scale.

    

AD Classics: Rothko Chapel / Philip Johnson, Howard Barnstone, Eugene Aubry and Mark Rothko

© Photo by Chris Erdos - http://www.flickr.com/photos/chris-erdos/

In 1964 Mark Rothko was commissioned by John and Dominique de Menil (who are also founders of the nearby Menil Collection that is housed in the Renzo Piano-designed Menil Museum and Cy Twombly Gallery) to create a meditative space filled with his site-specific paintings. The original architect assigned to work alongside Rothko was Philip Johnson, with whom Rothko clashed over their distinct ideas for the building. Rothko would object to the monumentality of Johnson’s plan as distracting from the artwork it was to house. For this reason the Chapel would go through several revisions and architects working on the meditative space. Rothko continued first with and then Eugene Aubry, but ultimately did not live to see the chapel’s completion in 1971. It was after a long struggle with depression that Rothko committed suicide in his New York Studio on February 25th, 1970.